Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan NEWS from
Assemblywoman Catherine
Winter 2006

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your representative in the NYS Assembly. It has been a busy year, starting with my appointment by Speaker Sheldon Silver to serve as the Chairwoman of the Assembly’s Education Committee. We cannot stress enough the importance of a good, quality education for the future of our children. I have spent most of my short tenure visiting schools, meeting with parents, students and teachers. I have also been monitoring the landmark CFE court case which addresses how New York City public schools are funded. This newsletter will update you on the latest developments.

Our veterans of all conflicts deserve our greatest respect and admiration. Their sacrifices in the name of freedom should not go unappreciated. This newsletter contains a “Special Report on Veterans” which describes the work that we have done in the Assembly to assist veterans and their families on the state level. As a twenty-two year member of the Assembly’s Veterans’ Committee, I am committed to better aid those who have served our country and to those who continue to serve.

I also continue to work with our local civic groups, tenant associations and community boards to ensure that our neighborhoods remain good places to call home. Just this past year my office has assisted hundreds of our neighbors with problems and we are eager to do more. My district offices are here to serve you. Please do not hesitate to call upon us.

I wish you, your family and friends a very happy, healthy New Year and I look forward to continuing our work together in the coming months.

Catherine Nolan

Fulfilling the Promise of CFE

photo I joined parents and supporters traveling to rally for CFE

As Chair of the Assembly Education Committee I’ve been an advocate for full funding for our schools.

Recently the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of our children by upholding the state’s obligation to more fully fund education in New York City. Despite appeal after appeal by Governor Pataki, the court has underscored the responsibility of the state to the children, our most vulnerable constituents. By ruling in favor of an additional $1.94 billion to New York City schools, the Court has reminded some that education must be our highest priority.

Our children are the future of this state. We no longer have to accept justifications for delays. The Assembly is continuing to move forward on fulfilling the promise of CFE.

The NYS Assembly has fought year after year to increase funding for schools. Most recently the NYS Assembly has triumphed in instituting the EXCEL program which deals with school capital construction needs. This is one of the areas of primary focus in the CFE decision. It is an important step toward dealing with the real problem: an under-funded and under-supported education system.

In addition, I was able to secure millions of dollars more for schools than Governor Pataki had allotted in his 2006-2007 budget.

We have made a down payment on our obligation and I am proud to have served a key role in ensuring that this process moves forward. This is only the beginning.

Continuing Support for
As the legislative session comes to a close, I would like to express my continuing commitment to veterans’ issues. It is a tradition to honor our heroes, both those we know and those we don’t. Our veterans were willing to make sacrifices for us; it is only proper that we do our best for them.

Queens County is home to 83,752 veterans, approximately 7.4% of the state’s total veteran population. That is more than any other borough in New York City. Of that number, 5,061 are women.

Being a representative for such a large and diverse group of veterans is a responsibility I am honored to have and that I take seriously.

In order to better study and treat mental health issues that affect veterans, especially those who are older, I co-sponsored a measure called the Veterans Geriatric Mental Health Act. This act would give grants to providers of mental health services to elderly veterans by creating a veterans geriatric service demonstration program.

War and combat are things that could affect the psychological and emotional health of our veterans. It is important to find ways to treat it.

To better aid those who serve now, and those whose service has been concluded, I also sponsored legislation to address exposure to toxic substances. The measure provides for assistance to current members and veterans of the military in obtaining treatment for exposure to harmful agents such as depleted uranium and other toxic materials. It also provides for dissemination of information about such harmful agents to veterans, and a task force to study the effects of exposure and resulting health problems due to military service.

Many problems relating to these substances do not show up for years or are not immediately obvious. Their service requires many of our veterans to become exposed in some way in the course of their duties. We must be prepared to aid them. It is our turn to help and support veterans.


Welcoming Veterans

I welcomed four female soldiers, three serving in Iraq, to the Assembly Chamber in Albany in June, 2006. The Assembly passed a resolution to celebrate their courage and dedication. Pictured with Nolan (left to right) are Dawn Scott, Sgt. Katie McGovern, Major Kathy Dean, and Spec. Naida LaBorde.

Financial Literacy for
Military Families
In order to protect the financial health of our soldiers, I sponsored two measures that would address access to financial information and the rights of those soldiers who deal with payday lenders. The first, A.7420, authorizes the State Banking Department to establish the Financial Literacy for Military Families Program.

Anyone might be hard-pressed to truly understand the ins and outs of mortgages and obligations, rental protections, and credit card dues. Add to these the programs available only to military members and their families and you have a complicated situation. It is vital that we do all we can to alleviate the possible stress of these financial matters by providing as much information as we can to members of the military and their families. With understanding comes confidence.

Another concern for military men and women is the proliferation of payday lenders. These lenders often locate near military bases. They offer loans in anticipation of the borrower’s paycheck which may seem like a good idea at the time, but often end up costing more than they are worth. Borrowers may not fully understand the terms and conditions and may get into an untenable situation such as bankruptcy, collection or delinquency. I introduced a bill, A.7288, which would regulate the industry as it pertains to military members to offer more protection.

The bill would establish specific procedures for payday loans to military borrowers. For example, a licensed lender would be:

  • prohibited from garnishing wages or salary paid for service in the armed forces when collecting a delinquent loan

  • required to defer all collection activity against a military borrower who has been deployed to a combat or combat support position

  • prohibited from contacting the military chain of command of a military borrower in an effort to collect a delinquent loan

  • required to honor the terms of any repayment agreement between a licensed lender and a military borrower, including any repayment agreement negotiated through military counselors or third party credit counselors; and

  • prohibited from making loans to military borrowers if a military bases commander has declared that a specific location of the licensed lender’s business is off limits to military personnel.

Getting into debt can be one of the most stressful situations for anybody. These payday loans to our military members need to be regulated to protect the borrowers against unfair practices. It is also necessary to protect them against getting in so deep that they have no way out. It is likely that some potential borrowers have little or no experience or knowledge dealing with loans and there are those who would use that to their advantage.

These bills go far toward making an area of enormous stress into an area members of the military can negotiate with confidence.

Community Corner
photo It was nice to see such a great turnout to help Sunnyside clean up graffiti! photo It was an honor to help community members to dedicate this bench to Lillian R. Brown at Queensbridge Houses.

Please Send Me Your Thoughts on
Landmark Designation for Sunnyside Gardens

Mail To:
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan
45-25 47th Street
Woodside, NY 11377

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